Cybersecurity pros use their own free time to update their skills

training key

By 2021, it's estimated that more than four million job openings in cybersecurity will be unfilled. Cybersecurity career development platform Cybrary has conducted a skills gap survey of more than 800 security and IT professionals in order to understand growing skills gap.

Among key findings are that 68 percent of respondents say they have to invest their own free time -- either before and after work (48 percent) or at weekends (20 percent) -- to improve their cyber skills.

Respondents show a preference for learning through online, self-paced courses (38 percent) along with online virtual labs (17 percent). Their motivation for improving their skills tends to focus on improving their current job performance (25 percent) or advancing their careers (29 percent), rather than pursuing a new career path (13 percent).

Cost (33 percent) and lack of time (28 percent) are cited as the main barriers preventing security and IT professionals from getting the skills development training they need. Over the past year, 38 percent of respondents say their organization either decreased its training budget or had no training budget at all.

Yet the skills gap remains very real, 72 percent of respondents admit that skills gaps exist on their current teams and 65 percent agreed that these gaps have a negative impact on their team’s effectiveness.

Assessment of skills needs work too. Most organizations continue to rely on performance reviews by managers (46 percent) or job-related assessments (37 percent) to assess skill proficiencies, as opposed to more objective skill-based assessment (20 percent) or certification practice tests (17 percent). As a result, nearly one out of four (23 percent) of organizations do not track skill development for their IT and cybersecurity teams at all. Nearly half (46 percent) do not confirm new hire skills for specific roles, nor assess the skills of newly on-boarded team members (40 percent rarely or never).

"Year after year, we see the cyber skills gap hindering the performance and productivity of IT and security teams, and this survey confirms that organizations still have a lot of work to do to provide their staff with the right training, guidance, and support they need," says Ryan Corey, CEO of Cybrary. "Despite industry-wide recognition around this growing skills gap, there has been little movement in bridging this gap. To make progress, organizations must empower and support IT and security teams by giving them the time and resources they need to grow their skill sets within their current role. It's truly a win-win situation, contributing to both the individual's career growth as well as organizational goals."

You can find out more on the Cybrary blog.

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